Saturday, September 20, 2014
It seems that the words "disobedient priests" has become a regular refrain for our Archbishop, inserting it out of nowhere even into his homilies. The refrain also appears to be regularly repeated by his neo-presbyter defenders, also into their homilies, with the addition of a lecture on how the Archbishop is being persecuted.
First, just WHO is disobedient? Fr. Paul was not given a chance to be disobedient. He was asked to resign immediately and if he did not resign immediately, Archbishop Apuron instructed him to "supply your reasons as soon as possible".
Fr. Paul was not given the opportunity to "supply (his) reasons as soon as possible", because upon his return to the parish he found himself locked out of his office, instructed to vacate his residence, stripped from the schedule of presiders, and on the following day, "fired" as pastor and replaced by a parochial administrator.
In doing all this, Archbishop Apuron violated ALL the norms of church law for the removal of pastors. Fr. Paul had ZERO opportunity to disobey even if he wanted to. Fr. Paul's only action was to take recourse against these illegal actions by Archbishop Apuron through the canonical procedures that he is accorded under church law.
So WHO is being disobedient?
In the case of Msgr. James, Msgr. James was summoned to the Archbishop's office, read a list of charges, removed as rector of the Cathedral, removed as Director of the Catholic Cemeteries, and dismissed as Director of the Archdiocesan Development Group which the Archbishop dissolved on the spot.
Msgr. James' only action was to ask for a copy of the charges. Archbishop Apuron denied Msgr. James his request and instead published the charges twice in the U Matuna and even sent the charges to the secular media.
Like Fr. Paul, Msgr. James had no chance to disobey and did not disobey. He left the Cathedral as ordered. He still has a canonical right to appeal his removal, but as yet that does not seem to have happened formally.
So WHO is being disobedient? Who is being persecuted?
Neither of these priests have been given any formal opportunity to respond to the Archbishop or his charges against them. Meanwhile, he has tried and hung them in a very public way, even going beyond the initial charges and doing everything he can to besmirch their characters and reputations.
People have begun walking out of Masses where the Archbishop and these neo-presbyters launch into their little personal tirades about disobedient priests and the persecution of the poor Archbishop. They know it's a lie, and at Mass no less.
My first impulse is to encourage you to walk out and keep walking until you find another parish where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not prostituted in this way. However, I have a better idea. Stay and record it. Then send it to me.